Welcome to a new series! In an effort to save my family from my historical fun facts while still sharing them so they don’t get bottled up inside me, I’ll be doing a post either bi-monthly or monthly. I’m not going to promote these posts like I promote the others; I hope you guys will enjoy these, but they’re fully for me, so the world won’t end if no one reads them. They’ll mostly be about English history because that’s where the bulk of my knowledge lies.
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Edward I was the worst but had a huge impact on the UK as we know it. He was responsible for England having control over Wales, England brutally attacking the Scots (he was the king in Braveheart), and for expelling Jewish people from England. Also, he technically wasn’t the first King Edward of England! England was run by its own people* – the Anglo-Saxons – until 1066 when William the Bastard aka Conquerer (no, really, he was called “the bastard”) conquered England. There were multiple Anglo-Saxon Edwards, but Edward I was the first Edward since the Norman Conquest. (Source)
*The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes actually invaded England in the centuries before 1066, but they were most of the people in England by that time. Those three Germanic tribes became the Anglo-Saxons. The original people who lived in England before their invasions were the Celts.
Anne Boleyn is easily my favorite wife of Henry VIII, and if you haven’t already, you have to read this amazing article on her. I already knew all of this and still found it wonderful and hilarious. It’s just *chef kiss*.
Anne, Princess Royal – aka the daughter of Elizabeth II – was almost a victim of a kidnapping in 1974 but she told the kidnappers, “Not bloody likely!” How amazing is that? The potential kidnapper was trying to drag her out of the car while her then-husband held her waist, the kidnapper had two handguns, and Anne basically said, “Hell to the no,” but, you know, in a much more English way. (Source)
Eleanor of Castile (wife of Edward I) had her son Alfonso’s heart preserved so it could be buried with her own. I generally don’t feel bad for rich royalty, but she outlived 10 of her 16(!!!) children. At the time of his death, Eleanor and Edward’s only son that wasn’t an infant was Alfonso; most of their sons died young. Edward II was only a few months old when his older brother died, and at that time, many children died young. Alfonso was 10 when he died, and he died while his parents were in Wales. They couldn’t wait for his parents to get back to England due to how long the trip would take and, you know, the fact that bodies decompose. But Queen Eleanor made sure his heart was preserved and had it buried with hers. (Source)
The English nobility spoke French until the 14th century. Like I mentioned, the Normans conquered England, and they spoke French. As such, the language of the nobility was French, and the rest of the population spoke what we now consider Old English. Over the years, some of the nobility also spoke English, but French was the language of the court, the law, literature, etc. It wasn’t until the Hundred Years War that French was nixed by all. The Hundred Years War was, as you can gather, about a hundred years of battles between the English and French for the French throne. Spending 120 years fighting the French made the English see France, and therefore French, as the enemy, and by the time the conflict was over, Middle English as the language of the land. (Source 1, Source 2)